Birds of a Feather

“Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful.”

Roy T. Bennett



This week our little island saw hundreds and hundreds of birds of all shapes and sizes soaring over one of our largest lagoons. A sudden (happily short-lived) cold snap caused a severe drop in the water’s temperature which created a decline in the oxygen level of the lagoon. As a result many of the lagoon’s fish either died or slowed significantly, such that they became easy prey for our avian friends.



“Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself.”

Chris Bradford

There were birds of prey, wading and shore birds as well as storks . I saw two bald eagles as well as three juveniles and several red-tailed hawks. There were many, still-endangered wood storks, dozens and dozens of egrets, hundreds of gulls, several ibis and the ever-present vultures waiting to clean up any mess left behind.



“To try and fail is at least to learn.”

Chester Barnard

I was determined to catch some of the birds in flight – always a challenge. In addition to using burst mode, I experimented with shooting in shutter speed mode (not my favorite), adjusting apertures and using Nikon’s Continuous AF/C. I ended up with at least as many throw-aways as keepers, but I also had some shots that I liked, and after all, isn’t that what experimenting is all about?



“Those who don’t jump will never fly.”

Leena Ahmad Almashat

Beyond the experimentation to catch the flying birds, I must say it’s the most excited I’ve been about a moment in nature in a long time. The incredible cacophony of the flying, swooping, squawking birds was amazing. Their movements were so graceful they reminded me of an avian ballet. Most interesting to me, they never even came close to colliding with each other – clearly what seemed like chaos to me was actually perfect avian choreography.



“Who dare tries is a success, and shall master the art of conquering dreams.”

T.F. Hodge

The gulls were the noisiest and most aggressive. They seemed to have a well-developed process, defining which birds would swoop at what time and in which direction. They rarely surfaced without having made a catch, using remarkably impressive speed and precision.



When you have faith in yourself, the possibilities are endless.”

Anthony T. Hicks

Finally, I’ll close with my favorite vulture capture, which I liked because it seemed a bit ominous. Although we may disparage them for being scavengers, in fact they serve a very important purpose. Were there no vultures to clean up our messes (as well as those of the avian community) we would have a much more difficult job keeping our streets, ponds, parks and pavement clean. So next time you see one, be sure to say thanks!



“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.”


Speaking of saying thanks, remember next week as we gather with family and friends, the real point of Thanksgiving is gratitude.  I know in addition to the many other things I am thankful for, I’ll also be thinking of this week’s wonderful gift of nature.


WPC: Experimental


















92 thoughts on “Birds of a Feather

  1. Pingback: Birds of a Feather — Travels and Trifles – SV Tech Articles Part 3

  2. Nature has got to be the best gift of all…what an amazing story, Tina! I bet you were glad youweren’t away on a trip at that moment! 😉 In the first photo, I can’t believe how may birds appear to be there, when you look back into the frame.

  3. So true, Tina. We have a lot to be thankful for. Have a great holiday. And thanks too for sharing the surprise visit by your avian friends. That must have been thrilling to watch. My favorite is the “ominous” vulture–much maligned and misunderstood!

    • Thanks Cynthia. Yes, sadly the joy of the birds comes at the expense of the fish. It’s a result of the cold snap killing some of the plant life in the ponds which in turn decreases the oxygen in the water. Nature doing her thing.

  4. Oh what an experience that must have been!! Your written description, along with your fab photos, has allowed me to imagine the noise of the calls, the flapping wings, and the splashing water. Awesome!

  5. Superb take on the challenge. Love the Ibis and the Egrets and all your shots, Tina. So many of them in one go, wow, that’s very special indeed and a true gift, something to be thankful for. When we walk in the marshes we always feel grateful for natures beauty around us.

  6. just spectacular captures Tina!!! I was fortunate to witness some of this event as i was driving by….was truly incredible!! You fine eye has captured it perfectly….and beautifully 👍

  7. What a wonderful experience to witness and to capture via images! For eight years I have been blessed to witness something similar each time a shrimp-pond owner harvests a pond — and I am as thrilled to experience it just as much now as I did the first time. My friends aren’t as enthusiastic, as each bird gorges on lots of shrimp, but I think they soften just a bit when they witness my own joy.

    Your selection of quotes was appreciated, and my favorite put a smile in my heart: “Those who don’t jump will never fly. “

    • Thanks Z, I’m sure the shrimp experience is much the same. We often have lagoon draining and large temp swings that affect oxygen levels in the ponds, but the appearance of the many eagles and hawks made this one especially thrilling.

  8. So sorry to hear of the fish not surviving the cold, but that is the cycle of nature and life. These are some stunning hunting photos – and they all turned out very crisp and you captured the motion so well 🙂 They look like they move so fast, like a fight for a feast. As you quoted Leena, ‘Those who don’t jump will never fly.’ Lol, the gulls were the noisiest and most aggressive. Maybe they were the most hungriest, or maybe that is simply their tactic. I suppose if we want something bad enough, will try our best to go for it. Wonderful tie in with Thanksgiving, and nicely done with the last photo too. After the chaos, there will be calm once again, and vice-versa. Always a time to reflect and be thankful for what we’ve got 🙂

  9. Pingback: Experimental: Passing on the Horizon 2 – What's (in) the picture?

  10. I wonder how long you were engrossed in your experimentation. I can imagine the time would fly by with the birds. An inspiring post Tina of quotes and a very difficult subject.

  11. What a treat, Tina! Thank you for letting us in – great shots of the beautiful egrets. Love the vulture shot. He’s got a great profile. I think a nonmoving bird is the only one I could have caught…
    Wish you a great weekend.

  12. Pingback: WPC: Experimental | Lillie-Put

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